Democrat Andrew Cuomo continues to behave badly as the various investigations into both his mishandling of the Wuhan virus pandemic and the numerous allegations of sexual harassment and abuses of power continue.
The latest instance of the embattled New York governor acting out came earlier this week during his first public appearance since being deposed by the state attorney general’s office on July 17th regarding the sexual misconduct claims. During a press conference Monday, Cuomo suggested that the independent attorneys who State Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, had brought on board to investigate had credibility and bias issues:
“I have concerns as to the independence of the reviewers,” Cuomo said. “Is this all happening in a political system? Yes, that is undeniable.”
When asked by reporters why he thinks the investigators are biased, the governor said to “google” them.
“Then tell me what you see,” he said.
One of the lead investigators, Joon Kim, a former acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was a top deputy to former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Bharara oversaw cases that resulted in Cuomo’s former top aide, Joe Percoco, and other former associates of the governor being sent to federal prison.
Other than saying “Google” them, Cuomo provided no proof to back up his statement, even when pressed by other reporters about it.
Prior to Cuomo himself going on the record to criticize Joon Kim, Cuomo’s loyalists began floating an unfounded rumor that Preet Bharara is considering challenging him in the 2022 governor’s race, with the insinuation being that his former top deputy Kim is giving Bharara an assist on that front.
Cuomo’s lackeys have also suggested James herself might be angling for the job, something she’s never indicated publicly one way or the other.
While it’s not uncommon for government figures under investigation to allege political motivations are behind probes into their actions, what’s unusual here is that it’s being done despite the fact that James is a Democrat and one who up until this year Cuomo seemed to take no issue with while she focused her ire and her office’s resources on then-President Trump.
But now that Cuomo’s in the hot seat, the knives are out and war is being waged against James’ office for during the very thing Cuomo directed her to do back in February: Launch the investigation. I guess he doesn’t trust the process he’s told people for months to have faith in after all.
The allegations against Cuomo coupled with New York state’s recent history of having other very powerful Democratic men facing similar claims of sexual wrongdoing raises a bigger question about the “indulgent culture” that allows these men to think they have the right to do non-consensual things with women behind closed doors. Jim Geraghty made a great point about this at The Corner:
Three consecutive New York state attorneys general [Eliot Spitzer, Eric Schneiderman, and Cuomo] faced charges of either getting sexually violent with women on multiple occasions or sexually harassing them. Some people might look at that and wonder if there’s a dangerously indulgent culture surrounding powerful Democratic men in New York state. Some might even wonder if being allegedly feminist, pro-choice, and self-described “pro-women” gives powerful Democratic men in office a sense that they are entitled to indulge their very worst impulses when behind closed doors with a woman.
That “indulgent culture” includes a compliant media which frequently looked the other way at the misdeeds of these powerful men, partly out of fear of retaliation (especially in Cuomo’s case) but mostly – I suspect – because on the surface they championed issues near and dear to Democrats.
But we’re in the #MeToo era now where Democratic men are no longer being let off the hook, which is a strong signal, in my opinion, that the days where such powerful men operated on the premise that the other cheek would be turned on these matters are on their way out.
Let’s hope so, anyway.